Choosing The Perfect Travel Destination

Earn Five-Star Reviews For Your Vacation Rental Property

by Eli Lambert

Vacationers rely heavily on reviews when choosing a vacation rental. Search engines and the websites where you advertise your listings also use reviews to determine your ranking in search results. Although you can't please everyone all the time, you can take steps to earn five-star raves. 

Update Your Property

Your vacation property should look fresh and up-to-date. Fixing damaged molding and trim, repairing unsightly caulking and grout, and rolling on a fresh coat of paint show guests that you take care of your property, and these improvements don't cost much to do. Larger jobs are also good investments:

  • Remove or paint paneling
  • Replace tired carpet with tile, wood or laminate
  • Trade up old kitchen appliances
  • Update bathroom fixtures
  • Swap out dated furniture for new pieces

Keep it Clean

Few factors weigh as heavily as cleaning. Start your rental season with a professional deep clean. This top-to-bottom clean gets your property off to a good start and makes it easier to maintain during the rental season. Between guests, inspect your property thoroughly to identify items that need attention, and when you do departure cleans, do one extra thing each time--dust on top of ceiling fans or clean the top of the refrigerator, for instance--to help that deep clean last all season.

Provide Comfortable Beds

Mattresses should be in good condition, free of sags and lumps. That goes for the sofa sleeper, too. Sofa sleepers are notorious for having poor-quality mattresses, probably because they're meant for occasional use. If you advertise a maximum occupancy that includes a sofa sleeper, assume guests will use it each week, and plan your mattress purchase accordingly. 

Equip Your Home with Technology

At a minimum, your vacation rental needs flat-screen TVs with a well-rounded cable- or satellite-TV package, plus at least one DVD player. Wireless Internet service is another must-have, and the signal should maintain strength throughout the home and outdoor seating areas.

Equip the Kitchen

The kitchen is one of the main benefits of a vacation rental. Equip yours with plenty of dinnerware, including serving pieces, and a variety of high-quality pots and pans. A coffeemaker, microwave, blender, and toaster are mandatory, and a slow cooker is a great touch.

Post Instructions

Leave your guests written instructions for anything that must confuse or frustrate them:

  • WiFi network name and password
  • Instructions for using the TV remotes
  • Location of outdoor trash receptacles and instructions for trash pick-up
  • Location of the circuit box in case guests trip a breaker
  • Tips for handling your home's unique quirks

Respond Quickly to Complaints

Your vacation rental property is likely to experience the same kinds of maintenance problems your primary residence does. Handling them quickly and thoroughly shows guests that you're committed to providing an excellent experience. Appliance service contracts can be invaluable for quick, efficient repairs, and they can save you money on replacing out-of-warranty items.

Once you're confident that your property is ready for reviews, ask guests to leave them. A nice way to do that is to include the request in a hand-written thank-you card sent a week or so after their stay. The personal touch and thoughtfulness creates a connection between you and your guests and encourages good reviews and repeat business.